When I started photography, my ultimate dream was to photograph births. I had a birth photographer for my 4th baby, and I absolutely cherish those images. You can never ever get that time back, and they grow so quickly (too quickly) – that soon enough they’re not that fresh newborn anymore. It can be hard to absorb it all when you’re experiencing it – there’s a lot in the way which prevents you from always soaking it in (the pain, the sleepless nights, the exhaustion, discomfort, the ‘new normal’ you’re trying to adapt to…so many things). By having someone there to capture those memories, you can revisit them forever. By looking at the image again, you can be transported back in time to that moment, and you can remember the smells, the feelings, the sounds….an image can be so powerful. Birth and preserving memories through photos are two of my absolute favourite things – so it’s an absolute dream come true to be able to merge both of those things together and do birth photography.
When my sister in law asked me at the end of her maternity shoot (see Ashlee’s Maternity Session) if I would consider being at the birth of their daughter, I was so honoured and excited!! As the time got closer to the birth, their plans were changed a little and it was decided that she would need a C-section. We were all happy that their doctor was excited at the thought of a birth photographer in the room, and that they would still be able to get their journey recorded. As they wouldn’t be going through the labour, I really wanted to make sure that I captured as much of their story as possible. I met them at the hospital when they arrived, so that I could capture their journey from the moment they arrived at the hospital. All those little details before the birth are just as important to the story – the nervous approach to the hospital; the feelings when signing in at the desk, knowing that when you leave you’ll have your baby; the excited walk into your room; the anxious and supportive hand holds; your room number….all of it is part of the story and part of that special day in your life. One that in so many ways can be so ordinary, but in other ways is so extraordinary.
The time in the hospital actually went very quickly – before long Ashlee was being taken down the lift to the operating theatre. There were nerves, tears, laughter, anxiety, excitement….so many mixed emotions. Throughout it all, Matt was there supporting Ashlee. He was holding her hand, giving her strength and just being there for her the whole way through. I can’t imagine a time when men weren’t allowed to be a part of it all. It’s as much life changing for them as it is for the mum. As for Ashlee, she was so strong. There was fear at points, and tears at other points, but she remained so strong throughout it all, and I truly admire her for that. The strength of a woman having a baby is so powerful. There is no easy way to deliver a baby. A C-section isn’t ‘an easy way out’. I looked at Ashlee on the bed, and I wondered if I could be as strong in that situation. Then I remembered, that when you have a baby it’s not about you anymore – it’s about your baby, and you find so much strength that you didn’t even know you had.
The moment they lifted Evie up to see her parents, I had to shoot through tears in my eyes. They were so happy – all fear and anxiety was completely gone and was replaced just with pure peace, joy and love. Their eyes both brimmed with tears, but they were happy tears. They were in love, and they couldn’t believe she was real. Their first cuddles together was just amazing. Evie was so peaceful from the start – she just knew that everything was going to be okay, and was happy and content just to gently fall asleep or calmly look around and try to focus her eyes. Ashlee and Matt took awhile to decide on her name, and I captured an image of the three of them on the bed just as they decided that she was Evie. Matt is kissing Ashlee, and Ashlee is holding their daughter who they have just named. Beautiful.
After the birth, the story continues with those first breastfeeds, those first moments absorbing their fresh new daughter, and first visits from Evie’s Grandparents and Aunty and Uncle. And of course, I had my first holds as well. And it took everything in me to give her back.
If you’d like to book a birth session, Contact me here. As much as I love births, I can only take on a small number per year as I have my own little people as well, so it’s important to contact me as soon as possible. You can view my Birth Portfolio here.